Archive for the ‘polymer clay’ Category

Project #233 – Pengiun Army

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I’ve been talking to friends of Clark who are keen at business about how they started their own companies. The best piece of advice that I’ve gotten is that I should only consider starting a business if it encompasses my passion, and, no, making lots of money doesn’t really count as a passion. It’s a cliche, of course, “Follow your passion”, but they are right. I keep thinking of business ideas that would be profitable, but make me wince when I think about all of the tedious programming I would have to do just to set up a proof of concept.

Still, at the end of my fantasy of building a successful software company, I always sell it for a high price and retire to making and selling little things with my hands. Maybe I should just skip to the fun part at the end.

So, just to see if I could take hours and hours of making little things, I decided to make something big for once and put it up for sale in my etsy shop. I recreated my penguin decoration set from my wedding, but instead of making everything over the course of a few weeks I did it over two days. I think I handled my repetitive task well, but it was only for a few hours at a time.

I don’t think I will be quitting my job anytime soon, but it’s a nice chance to make a little extra money and get some feedback on what I’m working on.

If you’re interested in buying lots and lots and lots of penguins, the Etsy listing is here.

Project #231 – Mini Mushrooms

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

I made tiny mushrooms for my planters, you know, because mushrooms are awesome. Though it is a little odd that the cutest mushrooms in nature are usually poisonous. For instance, I know of no red toadstools that won’t at least make people violently sick when eaten. Hmm…there’s a metaphor in here somewhere.

Also, speaking of eating dangerous mushrooms, I had to take these out of my herb planters immediately because the chickens thought they were food. It’s like living with a backyard full of toddlers. I constantly have to chase them down yelling “What did you just put into your mouth!? Give it to me!!” Of course, the chickens are not fans of being yelled at, so I have to chase them down and hope they drop whatever little piece of plastic they were tasting.

I baked the mushrooms with little twisted pieces of wire inside them to keep them upright.

Project #230 – Hamburger Cake Toppers

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

So, Clark and I had penguin cake toppers on our wedding cake, but I know that if Clark had been in charge, we would have had hamburger cake toppers. On a hamburger shaped cake. Scratch that, they would have been on top of a giant pile of hamburgers because the man does not really care for cake.

Sadly, he does not share my sweet tooth. That means that I usually get to eat his dessert (yay!), but he usually does not buy sweets (boo!).

Personally, if I could go back in time, I would top my wedding cake with miniature wedding cakes…that would be topped by even smaller wedding cakes. Hmm, I should make those anyway.

Project #229 – Terrarrium

Friday, September 11th, 2009

My husband really misses his ducks*, so I made a little terrarium scene with some mini replicas of our beloved Yama and Sabu. I wanted him to take it in to the office so he would have a little something green to look at during the winter.

Plus, nothing says love like a terrarium.

He is also a big fan of moss so I dug up a patch from the concrete on the side of our house and arranged it to fit in the jar. I had a bare spot, so I added a little clover plant, too. They are both from a super shady part of the yard, so they should both be kept out of direct sunlight.

The jar doesn’t drain, so I have a layer of gravel at the bottom to absorb excess water without completely removing it from the system. The soil is ordinary potting soil and the moss is just sitting on top.

Keeping the moisture equilibrium in the jar shouldn’t be hard. Just open the jar if the glass fogs up, and spritz it with water if the moss feels dry. Otherwise, the jar should be sealed.

*In case you missed it, the ducks moved back in with their breeder because duck quacks do, in fact, echo, especially at 6 am on a Saturday. Just in case you’re worried, the breeder does not eat birds.

Project #227 – Turtle Cake Toppers

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Sometimes things just don’t work out. Sometimes your head pops off in the oven and fuses to your torso.

Oh well, it’s nothing that a little glue can’t fix. Still, I’m not in love with the way these turtles are sitting, probably because real turtles don’t sit. Their limbs somehow look too long and too short at the same time; it’s just awkward. Oh well, I’m going to chalk this one up to experience.

I do think the flower is cute, so I might start using it elsewhere. It’s a good way to specify animal gender without getting graphic.

Project #215 – Toadstool Cake Toppers

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I’ve had a few recent encounters with mushrooms in the park and in the backyard. There’s something really fascinating about how they seem to just appear overnight and don’t bother to blend in with the scenery most of the time. On the one hand, they’re delicious, and on the other they can kill you in pretty horrible ways (liver and kidney failure, for example).

I’m just starting to learn how to identify wild mushrooms. I can usually identify ones that I think are edible, but I lack the confidence to actually pluck, cook and eat ones I find in the wild.

Still, mushrooms are the cutest members of the fungi kingdom. Certainly, they’re one of the few poisonous things I’d consider putting on a wedding cake.

Project #173 – Polymer Clay Tiles

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

I have lots of extra bits of polymer clay leftover from two years worth of projects and they’re starting to get annoying. They have a knack for falling out of the box and scattering under whatever furniture is nearby, picking up dust along the way.

Farewell, little bits, you have finally been turned into something useful.

I once again used one of my square cookie cutters (seriously, these are one of the most useful tools I own) and stamped my little tiles out of flat sheets of clay.

The trick to getting really nice, flat sheets of polymer clay is to use a pasta press. I got mine from a yard sale for $10, and I’ve seen at least three since then. They’re like fondue sets, lots of people have ones that they’ve used once now just want their cupboard space back. You can buy them new in kitchen utensil or craft stores, but they will cost $30 or more.

Project #170 – Polymer Clay Cinnamon Rolls

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

I have a fierce sweet tooth. I love baking desserts, I love eating them and I love just looking at pictures of them. Occasionally, I dream about desserts, but I’ve never successfully eaten a dream pastry. To me, the best way to express love is through baked goods, preferably by giving them to me while they are still warm. It’s an ‘I love you’ that you can eat, preferably in small bits over the course of a few days so that the maximum enjoyment can be extracted.

My husband does not really like desserts and doesn’t really understand their importance to me. Still, he tries his best and brought home a cinnamon roll for Dozen in Lawrenceville. I ate half of it immediately.

{Pittsburgh secret: The best cinnamon rolls in the city are from Food, Glorious Food in Highland Park and are only sold on Saturday mornings. It’s worth getting up early to have one before they are sold out, trust me.}

Of course, the giving of baked goods must be celebrated.

Man, cinnamon roll icing is hard to simulate in clay. It’s got this drippy, gooey, translucent texture that I had a dickens of a time trying to replicate. I tried an alternative method using a lashing of glue, while it is better than the thick clay coil, it still needs work.

{UPDATE} The glue looked for a little while like it would be the best bet for simulating cinnamon roll icing, but unfortunately, it dried completely clear. That does not look appetizing at all.

Project #147 – Fimo Pie

Friday, June 5th, 2009

I’m just one week sort of my goal of one month without buying snack foods, and more and more I’ve been thinking about sweet things. I’ve been baking a lot lately, but mostly for other people, so my sweet tooth has gone unsatisfied. It’s a lot easier to make a polymer clay pie than to put together the real thing from scratch.

Plus, I ♥ miniature food.

Odds are that I’m going to make a pie sometime this week.

Project #146 – Cupcake Knitting Needles

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I am a terrible knitter. I’m slow and I lose track of stitches, so the most I could probably knit in one day would be a potholder. I have plenty of potholders.

However, I do like making novelty knitting needles so other people can knit cool stuff.

I will occasionally make my own needles, but I had a nice pair of #10 bamboo needles sitting around that were perfect for this project. I bought this set in Japan where nice sets of knitting needles are easy to find cheap.